HEART OF A DOG
BY MIKHAIL BULGAKOV
ADAPTED BY FRANK GALATI
MATERIALS FOR THE PLAY
Heart of a Dog: Bulgakov's Satire and Its Era
Though Heart of a Dog was written as a novella, Mikhail Bulgakov- judged by some the greatest Russian writer of this century- was very much at home in the theatre. A master playwright as well as novelist, he once said that he needed to write both prose and plays, "as a pianist needs both left and right hands."
Bulgakov (1891 -1940) belonged to a generation of Russian writers who came of age in the turbulent years of the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath. From the early 1920s until his untimely death, he played a vital role in the literary and theatrical world of Moscow.
Heart of a Dog, written in 1925, belongs to Bulgakov's early period. The 1920’s was a decade of transition –a period in which massive economic, political and social changes were transforming Russian life. It was also a time of contradictions and contrasts, with class division, ideological antagonisms, and some forms of capitalist enterprise persisting, despite the advent in 1917 of the Soviet regime. The wrangles in Heart of a Dog between the elitist Professor Probrajensky, who scorns attempts to reduce the size of his spacious apartment, and Fotopov, the slogan-spouting proletarian chairman of the building's management committee, are one example of how Bulgakov satirizes the petty and not-so-petty conflicts of the day. The novella's satiric perspective of post-revolutionary mores, however, was not the sole reason for its rejection by the state-controlled publishing establishment. Nor does it explain why the novella was only published after the fall of the USSR. Other satiric treatments of clashing mentalities in the twenties (those of Zoshchenko, of the collaborators IIf and Petrov, and of Mayakovsky, for instance) were printed and produced. Heart of a Dog, however, challenges a central tenet of Marxist theory: the idea that existence determines consciousness- that is, the individual is shaped by the socioeconomic conditions in which he or she lives.
Much was written and said in the twenties about the creation of a "new man," an individual who, dedicated to socialistic principles and free of the reactionary mentality of the past, would be able to transcend all assumed limitations on human achievement. Along the road from socialism to true communism, wrote Leon Trotsky in 1924, "the human species will enter into a state of radical transformation." It was generally recognized, as one historian has put it, that "the remaking of human personality” was an integral part of the social, political and economic revolution that Bolshevism represented. Soviet psychologists, particularly those closely associated with the Party, realized that the assumption of the plasticity of the human organism was a necessary 'optimistic' premise for the goal of developing a 'new type of man.’
The catalytic event in Bulgakov's play, Professor Probrajensky's implantation of a human pituitary and testes in a mongrel called Sharik, can be seen as analogous to the Revolution's "implantation" of Soviet socialism in Russia. (The scientist's name, it should be noted, could be translated "Professor Transformer.") The effects of radically tampering with a living organism are disastrous in the novella; was the reader to assume that the Revolution itself was a disastrous experiment? That the traits of the human donor- a working-class alcoholic with a criminal record- live on in the dog-turned-man added to the novella's controversial nature. Would nurture prove more powerful a force than nature in post-revolutionary Russia, or would vices persist, even among the newly liberated proletariat?
As the 1920’s continued Bulgakov's reputation grew, boosted especially by the Moscow Art Theatre's production of his play The Days of the Turbins (adapted by the author from his novel The White Guard). With this play, which premiered in 1926, Bulgakov began a long and stormy association with the Art Theatre and its director, Stanislavsky. In the same year he signed a contract with the theatre for a dramatization of Heart of a Dog, despite the fact that the novella had yet to get through the censorship. It appears doubtful, though, that Bulgakov started work on the project. Shortly thereafter his apartment was searched and his only copy of the novella confiscated.
In dramatizing Heart of a Dog, Frank Galati is continuing the Bulgakovan tradition of turning prose into theatre. The professor in the play is an expert in rejuvenation, which aroused a good deal of interest in the 1920s. (Genetic engineering and inter-species transplants, now no longer the stuff of science fiction, are even more timely subjects today.) Galati and artistic director Michael Maggio are themselves "Preobrajenskys," performing an experiment in transfiguration. Sixty years after Heart of a Dog was written, they have succeeded in bringing it to the place that was for Bulgakov at the heart of cultural life-the stage.
-CaroI J. Avins Northwestern University Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Mikhail Bulgakov, the long-neglected Russian writer, lived and wrote during one of the most dramatic periods in Soviet history. His life spanned the Russian Revolution. World War I, the Stalinist purges, and the beginning of World War II. Throughout this period, writers' works were subjected to censorship and were often destroyed. Many of Bulgakov's short stories, novels and plays were denied publication. But amazingly, his works have survived and are better known today, both in and out of the USSR, than they were during his lifetime. A line from his novel The Master and Margarita, “Manuscripts do not burn,"
prophesizes the ultimate survival of the work of this great Russian writer. The son of a professor of theology, Bulgakov was educated as a physician. But in 1916 he left medicine to pursue a career in literature. While his work was well received by the general public, its subject matter was often objectionable to the Soviet government. As a satirist Bulgakov found many easy targets in the "new Soviet society" of the post-revolutionary Russia. In The White Guard, his first novel, published in 1924, he dared to portray the "White Army" as idealistic and patriotic in its battle with the Communist forces of the revolution. As a result of his daring, it became increasingly difficult for him to get his work published. Finally the government clamped down, and by 1929 his works could no longer be published or performed.
Finding himself in a precarious position and hoping to escape the fate of several of his peers who were imprisoned or killed, Bulgakov requested permission to leave the country. But permission was denied, and he remained in the Soviet Union, beginning a long association with Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theatre. At first he spent most of his time adapting the work of other authors to the stage. Ironically, it was Joseph Stalin who helped Bulgakov finally get his own work produced again. In 1932, Stalin ordered a performance of Day of the Turbins (a play Bulgakov adapted from The White Guard), which saved the play from obscurity. Day of the Turbins became one of Stalin's favorite plays and one of the most popular in the Moscow Art Theatre repertory.
Bulgakov remained at the Moscow Art Theatre until 1936, when he resigned because he felt betrayed by the destruction of one of his plays by the censors. He began work on Black Snow (A Theatrical Novel), a satire of the Moscow Art Theatre, which condemned the theatre and its administrators for stifling artists and the Russian theatre.
Not long after he left the theatre, he became ill and spent his few remaining years working on two major novels, the autobiographical Notes of a Dead Man and The Master and Margarita, considered his greatest work. This novel covers an incredible array of topics, including Bulgakov's favorite, the artist as a victim of an oppressive society.
Most of Bulgakov's work was not known until 20 years after his death in 1940. In the early 1960s, the Soviet government appointed a commission to go through his unpublished manuscripts. The commission discovered a large volume of work, much of which was not known to exist. Most of his work was then prepared for publication in the Soviet Union. A few of these pieces, like Heart of a Dog, have never been published there. Now, the majority of Bulgakov's works is available in their original uncensored form, outside the Soviet Union. He has been elevated from the status of a footnote of the literary history of the period and is regarded as one of the Soviet Union's greatest voices.
PROFESSOR PHILIP PHILIPOVICH
PREOBRAJENSKY FYODOR, the doorman
ZINA, the housekeeper
DARYA, the maid
IVAN ARNOLDOVICH BORMENTHAL. a young doctor, PREOBRAJENSKY's intern
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR (Mr. Medbedrovich)
FOTOPOPOV; VIAZEMSKA; PESTRUKHIN, members of the House Committee
AN OLD CRONE
VOICE OF COOK
VOICE OF MRS. YANIZNA YOO
Act I: December 1924
Act II: 1929 and January 1925
HEART OF A DOG
ACT I SCENE 1
VOICE OF COOK. (Off) I'm telling you for the last time! Get the hell out of here and don't come back!
DARK FIGURE. OOOOOOOOoooooooowwwwwww! Ow! Ow! Ow! Look at me! I'm finished. The wind is howling the last rites for me and I'm howling right along. Ow! That bastard . . . ow! . . . the lousy chief cook for the main dining hall of the Central Economic Council . . . that son of a bitch threw a pot of boiling water on me and burned my whole side. Jesus Christ, what a pig . . . and he calls himself a proletarian! Honestly, people! People! (He turns in the snow and steps closer. He is a dog.)
What harm did I do him? Would the Central Economic Council get any poorer if I rooted in their garbage? . . . It's already getting dark. (Sniffs the air.) It must be about four in the afternoon. I can tell by the smell of onions coming from the Prechistenka Fire Station. As you know, those firemen get kasha for supper. To me that's almost as bad as eating mushrooms. I detest mushrooms. Tastes like licking old galoshes. . . . Ow! My side is killing mel . . . I'll have terrible sores tomorrow, and I'm asking you what can I do to cure them? If it was summer, I could go to Sokolniki Park. There's some really terrific grass there to roll on . . . and anyway you can stuff yourself to your heart's content on leftover sausage butts.
But where can you go now, eh? I should be curled up under the stairs in a warm front hallway. In this blizzard, I'll probably catch pneumonia and when I do, dear citizens, I'll die of hunger. I'm a poor unattached dog. Who’s going to run around for me and bring me scraps from the garbage heaps? I'll get sick . . . I'll be feeble as a puppy. And then those janitors with the badges will grab me by the paws and toss me on the garbage truck. Of all the proletarians, janitors are the worst trash. The lowest form of human . . . the dregs. As for cooks, there can be all sorts of cooks. For example, the late Vlas who used to work over at the Europa Restaurant. The lives he saved. All the old dogs still talk about him. When he threw you a bone it always had a solid chunk of meat on it. He was a real prince. . . . May he rest in peace. Not like one of those assholes from the cafeteria of the Central Economic Council. What goes on in that kitchen is more than a dog's brain can fathom. They serve soup made from stinking rotten corned beef and those stupid proletarians gobble it down- they lap it up- don't even know what they're eating. But what difference does it make? My life is passing before me. Did they kick you with a boot? They did. Did they hit you in the ribs with a brick? They did. Over and over, I've had it all. So ... I'm resigned to my fate, and if it sounds like I'm complaining, it's only because of the GODDAMN LOUSY UNBEARABLE PAIN AND FREEZING COLD! Easy. Easy. My spirit is not broken yet. A dog's spirit is hard to crush. Owwwwwwwwwwww! (A distinguished looking gentleman, Professor Prebojensky passes by.)
Look at him. A gentleman. A gentleman for sure. Do you think I'm judging by his coat? No, these days all the proletarians are wearing coats. True, the collars are different, that's for sure but still . . . from a distance they all look the same. No, no. It's the eyes. You can see everything just by looking in the eyes. You can see the soul ... the wicked soul, the kind that'll kick you just for fun, or the timid soul, the kind you like to grab by the ankle and take a bite out of. Oh, yes. With this one it's obvious! This one doesn't have to eat rotten corned-beef soup. This one's not afraid of anyone because he's always had enough to eat. This gentleman works with his brains. (Sniffs.) But there's a smell…
PREOBRAJENSKY. No collar.
DOG. … a sour smell ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Hmm ...
DOG. ... hospitals and …
PREOBRAJENSKY. Male ...
DOG. ... stale smoke ... cigars!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Splendid! just what I need. Come here dog. Here, boy. (Claps his hands.)
DOG. Is he talking to me?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Here doggie.
DOG. He's not talking to me.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Here, Sharik. Heel boy! Heel.
DOG. He must be kidding. I'm contracting pneumonia here. And this fellow wants me to do tricks. (Barking.) DON'T BOTHER ME!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Hmmmm. (He turns and walks off.)
DOG. That got rid of him ... Hmmm. He's going into the People's Agricultural Cooperative and Butcher Shop. You may wonder how I can read that sign. Believe me if you live around here and have a brain in your head you can learn to read without ever going to school. Of the forty thousand or so dogs in Moscow, only a total idiot wouldn't know how to read the word "sausage.” If you're going to get anywhere in this town you have to learn to read the signs. At first I thought it was all done by color. When I smelled meat, the sign was blue. But one day my sense of smell had been knocked out by the exhaust of a passing car. I was tempted by a shop with a bright blue sign. When I snuck inside, the place was full of electrical supplies. It was that store on Myasnitsky Street run by the Polubizner Brothers. Igor Polubizner gave me a taste of insulated wire and that famous moment, dear citizens, was the beginning of my education. It wasn't hard to figure out that blue sign doesn't always mean meat. You can't go by the color, it's those little wiggles.
Here he is again. Wait! There's another smell sneaking out from under the odor of the medicine and the smoke . . . a delicate smell . . . a fragrance! It's in the right-hand pocket of his coat. I sense... I know ... IT'S SAUSAGE!! ... just a glance, I'm dying. I am a slave. (He crawls on his belly weeping.) I kiss your boots. I lick your hands. There's nothing left.
(PREOBRAJENSKY bends over the dog and withdraws a small white package from his pocket. He un-wraps it. The white paper blows away in the strong wind. He breaks off a piece of sausage and holds it out. The dog gulps it down.)
Oh, oh ... what a generous man!
PREOBRAJENSKY Wfuit, wfuit! Here, Sharik, Sharik!
DOG. What's with this Sharik business again? Since when do I look like a fluffy little ball?
(PREOBRAJENSKY offers another piece of sausage.)
Well, in that case, you can call me anything you want. I kiss your coat, oh beloved benefactor. (He wolfs down the sausage.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. That's enough for now. Follow me. Wfuit, wfuit!
DOG/SHARIK. Follow you? To the ends of the earth. Kick me with your perfect boots, I won't say a word. I am yours.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Come, come ...
SHARIK. I'm coming. Scalded side and all, I'm coming....
The scene starts in the lobby of the building where Professor PREOBRAJENSKY lives, then moves through his ample and elegant apartment. As PREOBRAJENSKY enters with Shank, Fyodor the doorman smartly greets him.
FYODOR. Good evening, sir.
SHARIK. Oh, my God! A doorman!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Good evening, Fyodor. (Sharik barks.)
FYODOR. Go on you!
SHARIK. Pure trash ….
FYODOR. Get away ...
SHARIK. Worse than janitors.
FYODOR. Beat it, filthy mutt.
SHARIK. Stupid prole.
PREOBRAJENSKY. It's all right, Fyodor. He's with me.
FYODOR. As you wish, sir.
SHARIK. Murderers in gold braid.
(As PREOBRAJENSKY enters the apartment foyer, Zina the housekeeper appears to take his coat.)
ZINA. None, Philip Philipovich ....They put some more people in apartment three.
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Taking off his coat.) What?!
ZINA. Yes, sir, four people altogether.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh, my God! FOUR!!!
ZINA. (Calls off.) Darya, come and take the professor's coat.
PREOBRAJENSKY Just imagine what that place is going to look like. What sort of people are they? (Darya the maid enters and takes the coat.)
ZINA. The Russian sort ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. God help us.
ZINA. They're going to put up a lot of partitions.
ZINA. Yes. They're going to move more tenants into all the apartments, I'm sure. They had a meeting.
PREOBRAJENSKY. What meeting?
ZINA. They've selected a new committee and got rid of the old one.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Madness ...
(Darya sees Sharik, screams, and runs off.)
ZINA. Good heavens, where on earth did this come from?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Come here, Mr. Sharik.
ZINA. Really, Philip Philipovich.
PREOBRAJENSKY. This partition business is a damn outrage.
ZINA. What a lousy-looking dog. Does he have mange?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Mange? Don't be silly. He's... Hey . . . hold still . . . hold still, you devil . . . hold still. Wait a minute! This is a burn! Stop wiggling, will you? What sort of monster did this to you?
SHARIK. It was that cook. That wretched slob of a cook!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Zina, to the examination room at once . . . and get my smock.
(Singing the opening phrase of his favorite aria from Aida.)
"Su del nilo ..."
ZINA. Yes, Professor.
(Zina herds Sharik through the maze of rooms toward the examination room.)
All right, in you go.
SHARIK. I've never seen so much mirror and glass and electric light. What is this place?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Doctor Somebody?
ZINA. He says you're expecting him.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh yes ... Smirnoff's man. Tell Darya to send him right in. (Zina leaves.) Very well, little Sharik. Let's have a look at that burn.
SHARIK. Oh no. I beg your pardon, but I won't let you do it. I understand now. You've tricked me. I know what this place is! THIS IS A DOG HOSPITAL!!
(Sharik dashes away. PREOBRAJENSKY pursues. Doors open and slam shut. There are shouts and barks. Walls and pictures, chairs and drapes fly by. Darya, Zina and the young doctor, Ivan Bormenthal, collide with the panicking dog and join the chase.)
BORMENTHAL. Professor Prebojensky . . .
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Handing Bormenthal a bottle and rag.) Here, hold these!
SHARIK. They're not going to slice me up with knives!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Zina, don't just stand there, grab him!
BORMENTHAL. I have a letter from Doctor Smirnoff ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Give me those! (Takes bottle and rag from Bormenthal.)
SHARIK. Where the hell's the back stairs?
ZINA. Stop you beast!
BORMENTHAL. I'm sorry I'm late.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Hold these! (Gives Bormenthal bottle and rag.) Zina, grab him by the neck! The neck!
ZINA. I've got him! I've got him!
BORMENTHAL. My train was delayed in Tsbilisi ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Never mind TsbiIisi, help me get this creature on the table!
SHARIK. You can take your goddamn sausage and shove it!
BORMENTHAL. My internship was to begin yesterday . . . (Sharik bites Bormenthal on the leg.) Owww!!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Give me those! (Grabs bottle and rag from Bormenthal and pours the liquid on the rag to hold it over Sharik's nose.)
SHARIK. What's that smell? Ugh ... That's disgusting. (Coughing.) That's awful ... ugh ... ahhh....Thank you very much, it's the end. Goodbye Moscow. Goodbye, proletarians ... goodbye greasy sausage. My long suffering is rewarded . . . I'm off to heaven.
PREOBRAJENSKY's office. Later. Sharik is dozing in a corner. PREOBRAJENSKY, humming his favorite tune from Aida, is writing at a small table. Bormenthal is fumbling with jars and bottles, and a woman patient, facing the professor, is holding her skirt up over her face.
WOMAN PATIENT. Oh Professor, I swear if you only knew my tragedy. He's such a scoundrel. His profession is cheating at cards. Everyone at the theater knows it. And that Maurice! He's ready to take up with every nasty little seamstress. Oh Professor, I realize these are my last passions, but they're so young, so savage-- it's breathtaking.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Very weIl, madam. We will perform an ovary transplant. . . .
WOMAN PATIENT. I beg your pardon ....
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dr. Bormenthal, defrost the monkey's ovaries and prepare them for the nutrient bath.
WOMAN PATIENT. But Professor ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. You did come here for rejuvenation.
WOMAN PATIENT. But Professor, monkey's ovaries?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Madam, you said they were 'savage'.
WOMAN PATIENT. How soon can you operate?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dr. Bormenthal will schedule the surgery.
WOMAN PATIENT. Oh thank you, thank you.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And thank you for the tickets. I can hardly wait to see your Aida. (The woman patient weeps as Bormenthal escorts her out. Sharik groans and rolls over.)
SHARIK. OHHH ohhh, pink dogs over herel Yellow dogs behind the line! Ohhohhh, my side… Where am I? What's going on? ...
SHARIK. They've bandaged my side. It's that gentleman. Where's that fellow I sunk my teeth into? (The door opens and a man with green hair steps into the room. The dog, of course, barks.)
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Greetings, dear, dear Professor.
SHARIK. Bow wow!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Quiet, now.... (To man.) But, I hardly recognize you.
SHARIK. Professor? He must be some sort of magician.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Dear Professor, I am cured! I'm better than cured!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Remove your pants, dear fellow.
SHARIK. Christ, this is a strange one. (He barks again.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Quiet! (To man.) Do you sleep well now, my dear?
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Sleep? Listen ... but we're not alone....
PREOBRAJENSKY. You may speak freely in front of Dr. Bormenthal.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. (Unbuttoning his pants.) It beats everything. Word of honor, nothing like this has happened to me in twenty-five years. Would you believe, Professor ... four, five, even six times a night ... every night . . . till near dawn . . . flocks of naked girls! I'm in seventh heaven. You are a wizard.
SHARIK. He is a wizard!
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. See for yourself.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. I know. (The man with green hair drops his pants revealing underwear decorated with black cats.)
SHARIK. What's that?
PREOBRAJENSKY. In less than a week.
SHARIK. Cats? That trash on his underwear? This is the limit! (Barks.)
PREOBRAJENSKY Here! Down! I'll whip you, so help me!! DOWN! STAY! DO YOU HEAR ME? STAY!! Don't worry, he doesn't bite.
SHARIK. He doesn't bite?
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Pulling out the waistband of the man's underwear and looking in.) Now, listen, my friend, you mustn't overdo it.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. My dear Professor ... on the contrary . . . I view this as an experiment . . . for you . . . for science. . . . The last time anything like this happened to me was in 1899 on the Rue de la Paix.
PREOBRAJENSKY. But, why would the hair turn green?
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Exactly. God only knows what that barber slipped into the hair dye. The fop. He should have his head bashed in. Look at me! What can I do now?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Shave your head.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. But the hair will come out gray again. Ah, Professor, if you could only invent a way to rejuvenate hair as well.
PREOBRAJENSKY. One thing at a time, my friend. (Examining the man's stomach.) Well, lovely, everything seems as it should. I must say even I didn't expect such results. Come back in two weeks. But remember … don't overdo it.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Don't worry, Professor ... As you can see, I am a man of moderation. Only once before . . . in 1899 . . . it was late August …
PREOBRAJENSKY. Yes, yes, my friend.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Most everyone had gone to the seashore . . . (Bormenthal enters as the man with green hair reaches for the door.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Two weeks, dear friend.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Maybe not six times in one night, but certainly five-and-a-half . . . (The man with green hair closes the door. Bormenthal hands PREOBRAJENSKY a folder. PREOBRAJENSKY crosses to his desk, humming.)
SHARIK. This place is obscene. Though the professor here doesn't seem to think so. Who knows what the bitten one thinks....
BORMENTHAL. I beg your pardon, Professor ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Reading from the folder.) Hmmm?
BORMENTHAL. I beg your pardon, Professor ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Reading from the folder.) Hmmm?
BORMENTHAL. I've shaved the rabbit and prepared him for the trepanation.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Yes. Yes.
SHARIK. Shaved the rabbit??
BORMENTHAL. I've made the journal entries on patients Semeyenova and Sobakavich.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Fine. Fine.
SHARIK. But what do they want with me?
BORMENTHAL. And if you will permit me to say, the results of these most recent experiments are extraordinary.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Extraordinary? Nothing of the sort. They are historic.
SHARIK. I can't make heads or tails out of this. Oh well, who cares what they're up to. As long as the place is warm and the floors are comfortable.... But really, green hair? And cats all over his underwear. Now that's trash.
SHARIK. Now what does this crowd want? (The leader, Vladimir Fotopopov, steps forward.)
FOTOPOPOV. We are here to see you, Professor, to discuss ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. You gentlemen should wear galoshes in this kind of weather because, first of all, you will catch colds and secondly you have tracked up my rugs, and all my rugs are from Persia. (The group is somewhat stunned. PREOBRAJENSKY taps his fingers on his desk. Viazemskaya, the youngest of the three, steps forward.)
VIAZEMSKAYA. First of all, we are not gentlemen.
PREOBRAJENSKY. First of all, tell me: are you a man or a woman?
FOTOPOPOV. What difference does it make, comrade?
VIAZEMSKAYA. I am a woman.
PREOBRAJENSKY. In that case you may keep your hat on. (To Fotopopov.) You, my dear sirs, will be so kind as to remove yours.
FOTOPOPOV. We're not your dear sirs. (Pestrukhin, the third member of the group, now steps forward and confers with Fotopopov.)
VIAZEMSKAYA. We have come to tell you ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. First of all, who are "we"?
FOTOPOPOV. We are the new House Committee of this building. I am Fotopopov, she is Viazemskaya and he is Pestrukhin. We are here ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Are you the ones they moved into apartment three with Fyodor Pavlovich Sablin?
FOTOPOPOV. Yes we are.
PREOBRAJENSKY. My God, the Kalabukhov House is ruined....
VIAZEMSKAYA. Professor, you are making fun.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Making fun? Far from it, I am in complete despair. What will happen to the steam heat now?
FOTOPOPOV. Professor Probrajensky, we are here on a serious matter.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Well, what is it? State your business as briefly as possible. I am about to have my dinner.
PREOBRAJENSKY. You discussed what?
FOTOPOPOV. We discussed the question of putting more people in each of the apartments in this building.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Enough! I understand. Are you acquainted with the fact that by the decree of August 12th my apartment must be left intact, occupied by me and no one else?
VIAZEMSKAVA. We know that.
FOTOPOPOV. But the general meeting.
VIAZEMSKAYA. ... after having examined this question ...
FOTOPOPOV. ... came to the conclusion ...
VIAZEMSKAYA. ... that … on the whole …
FOTOPOPOV. … you personally are occupying too much space. You live alone in seven rooms. A totally unacceptable situation.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Totally unacceptable. I would like to have an eighth room.
FOTOPOPOV. An eighth?
PREOBRAJENSKY. I desperately need another room for a library.
FOTOPOPOV. This is really something!
VIAZEMSKAYA. This is beyond description!
FOTOPOPOV. Now I've heard everything!
PREOBRAJENSKY. I have a waiting room which, you may have observed, also serves as my library; a dining room and my office, that makes three. The examination room is four, the surgery is five, my bedroom is six and the servant's room is seven. On the whole it is quite simply not enough space. But none of this matters . . . my apartment will remain as it is and that's that. If you don't mind, I am going to have my dinner.
FOTOPOPOV. I beg your pardon. That is precisely why we are here. To talk about the dining room. The House Committee, representing the general tenant committee, is asking you to willingly agree . . . in the name of the labor discipline . . . to give up your dining room. No one in Moscow has a dining room.
VIAZEMSKAYA. Not even Isadora Duncan has a dining room. (Preobrajensky’s face is turning purple.)
FOTOPOPOV. And the examination room as well. Your examination room and office could easily be compressed.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I see . . . and where would I have my meals? (The committee quickly confers.)
COMMITTEE. In the bedroom.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Take my meals in the bedroom, read in the examination room, dress in the waiting room, operate in the servant's room and examine patients in the dining room. Maybe that's what Isadora Duncan does. Maybe she has her dinner in the study and dissects rabbits in the bathroom. Maybe. But I am not Isadora Duncan! I will sleep in the bedroom, and I will operate in the operating room! You may tell this to your general committee, and now, I humbly request that you go back to your business and give me the opportunity to have my dinner . . . where all normal peopIe have their dinner, namely in the dining room and not in the foyer or the nursery.
FOTOPOPOV. Very well, Professor. In view of your stubborn opposition we will be forced to submit a complaint against you to the higher authorities.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Aha! Is that so? Well, in that case, if you wouldn't mind waiting for just a minute ... (He picks up a telephone and dials.)
SHARIK. Now here's a man after my own heart! He's just like me. He'll get them. He'll chew 'em up. He'll take a piece out of each one of them.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Please, yes ... thank you. I would like to speak to Peter Alexandrovich, please ....
SHARIK. Like that long-legged one. Grab him just above the boot. Right at that tendon behind the knee.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Peter Alexandrovich? Professor Preobrajensky. I'm so glad I reached you. Thank you, I'm fine. Peter Alexandrovich. Your operation is canceled. No, not postponed . . . canceled for good, along with all of my other scheduled operations. I'll tell you why. I am discontinuing my work in Moscow and in fact in Russia generally... Well ... three citizens are here, they form a committee. One of them is a woman dressed as a man, the other two are thugs with guns. They are terrorizing me in my own apartment and attempting to steal my dining room....
FOTOPOPOV. Professor, please ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. They also want to make off with my examination room. In other words, your surgery is canceled because I would have to operate on you in the bathtub. So, under such conditions I cannot work. I am resigning my practice, closing the apartment and moving to Sochi. I can leave the keys with Comrade Fotopopov here. He can operate....just a moment. Someone wants to talk to you.
FOTOPOPOV. Yes? ... I'm....Yes? ... Yes. Chairman of. . . . Yes, I'm. . . . But we were acting according to… The Professor already has. . . . We are familiar with.... Well, if that's.... Fine.
SHARIK. That's got 'em. (To committee.) Get your filthy boots off our Persian rugs!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Sharik! Down boy.
SHARIK. Peasants! (To Preobrajensky) You're a genius. I'm your slave. Beat me!
FOTOPOPOV. This is disgraceful.
VIAZEMSKAYA. If we were to hold a meeting right now, I could prove to Peter Alexandrovich …
PREOBRAJENSKY. Excuse me ... you're not going to start this meeting right now this minute, are you?
VIAZEMSKAYA. I grasp your irony, Professor. We are leaving ... but, as director of cultural affairs in our building.
VIAZEMSKAYA. I wish to request that you buy a few magazines for the benefit of the German children....They are fifty kopecks each.
PREOBRAJENSKY. No, thank you.
VIAZEMSKAYA. You won't buy a magazine?
VIAZEMSKAYA. Don't you feel sorry for the German children?
PREOBRAJENSKY. I do.
VIAZEMSKAYA. Do you begrudge them fifty kopecks?
VIAZEMSKAYA. Then why won't you buy one?
PREOBRAJENSKY. I DON'T WANT TO!
FOTOPOPOV. Do you know, Professor, if it were not for the fact that you are an international celebrity . . . and if you were not being protected-- in a most disgusting way-- by certain authorities whose authority we will certainly check into . . . you . . . you would be under arrest right now.
FOTOPOPOV. You are an enemy of the Proletariat.
PREOBRAJENSKY. You are right. I don't like the Proletariat. (Preobrajensky rings a buzzer. The door opens and Zina steps in.) Dr. Bormenthal, tell Zina she may serve dinner. And now, if you will excuse me please, gentlemen.
SHARIK. Let's face it. I've fallen in love. (The committee marches out as the chorus of a revolutionary song drifts in.)
The dining room. A little later in the evening. Probrajensky and Bormenthal, dressed for dinner, are facing each other at opposite ends of a long table. Darya and Zina bustle about, serving them. Sharik is curled up by Probrajensky's chair. Zina brings in a covered dish. The dog's tail bangs on the parquet.
SHARIK. What aroma! This cook is a poet.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dr. Bormenthal, take my advice, forget that dreadfully dull Russian vodka and pour yourself some English whiskey. (He sings.) "Su del. ... " Have you tasted this pierogi, dear young colleague? Is this bad? Is it? Answer me, my most esteemed doctor.
BORMENTHAL. It is superb.
PREOBRAJENSKY. It certainly is. Now please take note, Ivan Arnoldovich, these days there are only a few landowners, not yet butchered by the Bolsheviks, who still manage to enjoy hors d'oeuvres as a first course. And this dish of Zina's is among the very best. At one time the Slaviansky Market was famous for it. (Tossing a piece to the dog.) Here, boy.
ZINA. Feeding the dog from the table! You'll never be able to get him out of here.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Never mind. The poor thing is starving. Yes, dining well, my dear Ivan Arnoldovich, requires enormous skill. One must know how to eat and the majority of people in this country have no talent for it. One has to know not only what to eat but when and in what way . . . what conversation goes with what meal and so on. If you want to digest your meal properly, my advice is . . . never talk about medicine or Bolshevism at the dinner table. And, God help you ... don't read any Soviet newspapers before dinner.
BORMENTHAL. Hmmm ... but there aren't any others....
PREOBRAJENSKY. So, don't read any. I conducted thirty experiments in my clinic and what do you think?
Those patients who don't read any newspapers are in wonderful shape. But those for whom I prescribed Pravda . . . lost weight.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And this is not all. They also had lower knee-tap reflex, severe depression and a bad taste in their mouths.
PREOBRAJENSKY. But, what's the matter with me? I'm talking medicine myself. (Taking a sip of wine.) Ah, this St. Julien is very decent wine, but the trouble is you can't find it anywhere anymore. (Choral singing has been drifting in from above.)
PREOBRAJENSKY (rings a bell and Zina enters with another dish. Darya is clearing plates.) Zinusha, what's all that racket?
ZINA. It seems a general meeting has been called.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Again? Well, this is it ... the end of the Kalabukhov House. I simply have to move out ... but, where, I'm asking you? Yes, I see it clearly ... first, there will be singing every evening, then the pipes in the toilets will burst . . . then the boiler will explode . . . and so on and so forth until one of Moscow's nicest apartment buildings is finished.
ZINA. (To Bormenthal.) Philip Philipovich is taking it hard.
PREOBRAJENSKY. How else can I take it? What a beautiful and elegant house this was, dear doctor, if you only knew.
BORMENTHAL. Perhaps you are being too pessimistic.
PREOBRAJENSKY. My dear, do you know me? I am a man whose work depends upon facts, on observations. Yes? I am an enemy of the unsubstantiated hypothesis. And this is well known not only in Russia but also abroad. If I say something, it is based on some fact from which I have drawn my conclusion. And one fact upon which I base my conclusion is the stand for galoshes that used to be downstairs in the lobby.
BORMENTHAL. The stand for galoshes?
SHARIK. Galoshes? What in the hell is he talking about?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Yes ... there it is. The stand for galoshes.
BORMENTHAL. How interesting.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I have been living in this house since 1903 . . . and during all this time . . . right up to March 1917 . . . there was no single occasion... (I underline this in red, mind you) ... not one single occasion when even one pair of galoshes was ever missing . . . and all that time the front door was never locked. And observe. please, there are twelve apartments in this building, and I have scores of patients. Now listen . . . on a certain day in March of 1917, all the galoshes in the building disappeared including two pair of mine . . . to say nothing of three walking sticks, a coat and the doorman's samovar. My dear, the steam heat I'm not even mentioning. I just let it be. When you have a social revolution you don't need steam heat. But I ask you why is it necessary now to lock up the galoshes and get a soldier to guard them? Why was the carpet removed from the front stairs? Does Karl Marx forbid carpeted stairs? Is it mentioned any place in the writings of Karl Marx that the second entrance to the Kalabukhov House on Prechistenka Street should be all boarded up so that people have to walk around and come in through the back yard? Why can't the Proletarians leave their galoshes unguarded in the lobby instead of dirtying my Persian carpets?
BORMENTHAL. But, Philip PhiIipovich, the Proletarians don't have any galoshes.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Nothing of the sort.... Proletarians do have galoshes and those galoshes are mine. They're the same galoshes that disappeared in the spring of 1917. (Pouring another glass of wine.) Hmm ... I don't approve of liqueurs after dinner, they're bad for the liver. Listen, why in the hell did they remove the big plants from the stair landings? Why is it that the electricity which went out of service twice in the last twenty years is now out regularly once a month?
BORMENTHAL. It's a general ruin, Philip Philipovich, an economic collapse.
PREOBRAJENSKY. No, no, no. "General ruin," Ivan Arnoldovich, that is a folktale ... "general ruin." I tell you it is impossible to serve two gods. It is impossible to sweep the streetcar tracks and also see to the future of the poor people in Spain. No one can succeed in doing this, doctor, much less a people who have been some two hundred years behind the Europeans, and are just now learning to button their own pants.
SHARIK. Scraps of beef! I'm in paradise! (Starts to eat but suddenly stops.) That's odd. What a strange sensation. I've never felt this before. I couldn't look at another bite of food. My stomach ... it must be full.
BORMENTHAL. Will you need me this evening, Philip PhiIipovich?
PREOBRAJENSKY. No, thank you, my dear. We won't do anything this evening. First of all, the rabbit died and second, Aida's at the Bolshoi and I haven't heard it for quite a while. I adore it. Do you remember the duet? . . . Tari-ra-rim?
BORMENTHAL. How do you manage to do so much, Philip Philipovich?
PREOBRAJENSKY. One who is not in a hurry has time for everything. I'll get there for the second act. Yes, Ivan Arnoldovich, I leave you to your own devices. But listen to me, I must remind you, watch carefully, keep your eyes open.... As soon as the right kind of death occurs, out it comes, right from the slab, into the nutrient liquid and rushed to me as quickly as possible.
BORMENTHAL. Don't worry, Philip Philipovich ... the pathologists have promised.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Excellent, and in the meantime we will keep watching this stray neurotic and let his side heal. (Dr. Bormenthal bows and leaves. Preobrajensky hums a theme from Aida as he lights up a cigar.)
SHARIK. He worries about me! He's a very fine man. I know who he is. He's a magician, a wizard, a sorcerer, out of a dog's fairy tale. But what if I'm dreaming all of this? I'll wake up and there'll be nothing ... no Persian rugs, no warmth, no full stomach . . . and everything will begin again, the blistering cold, the ice on the sidewalk, the hunger, the wicked people, the snow... Oh, well. I think I'll go stretch out behind the stove. (The choral music swells overhead, drowning out the professor’s melody.)
The lab. Several days later. Zina and Darya are dusting bottles and jars with parti-colored organs in them. Zina holds a jar and peers at the label. Darya softly sings a folk tune.
ZINA. "Testes of the gibbon (symphalongus) the lowest of anthropoid apes. Wou-Wou species from Southeastern Asia." (She sighs.) Do you know that in the front-hall closet on the top shelf there are three beaver kidneys? I tell you, Darya Petrovna, science is a strange business . . . and why anyone would go under the knife to change the color of his hair is beyond me. But what do I know? The professor is a world celebrity with a seven-room apartment and that assistant of his is as good-looking as a prince on horseback. (Darya giggles. We hear barking off in another room. PREOBRAJENSKY storms in wearing his lab coat.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Where the hell is Bormenthal? We're conducting six experiments this morning, he's two-and-a half hours late and the damn dog just broke into the storeroom and ate Madam Siava's ovaries. (Bormenthal runs in clutching a suitcase.)
BORMENTHAL. Dear Professor . . .
PREOBRAJENSKY. Do you realize what time it is?
BORMENTHAL. Philip Philipovich?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Do you expect me to recommend for admission to the Academy a doctor who shows up at the laboratory two-and-a-half hours late packed for a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad?
BORMENTHAL. But, Professor ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Where the hell have you been?
BORMENTHAL. The pathologist's.
BORMENTHAL. The pathologist's.
PREOBRAJENSKY. (He gasps.) When did he die?
BORMENTHAL. Three hours ago.
PREOBRAJENSKY. To the operating room at once! (Music.) Darya, tell Fyodor to sit by the telephone and
take all calls. Let no one in. Zina, we'll need you both in the surgery. Dr. Bormenthal, I implore you ... hurry, hurry, hurry!
(A swell of choral music floods the apartment as they all scurry about setting up the operating room. The lab counter and nutrient bath are moved into position. A standing surgical lamp is wheeled into place. In the midst of all the activity, Sharik wanders in, wiping his mouth contentedly.)
SHARIK. What's going on? What's all the commotion?
(Bormenthal hands the suitcase to Preobrajensky.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. How did he die?
BORMENTHAL. Knife wound to the heart.
SHARIK. What? Who died? (Preobrajensky collides with the dog.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Get out from under my feet! Zina!
ZINA. Yes, Professor.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Grab him and hold him.
SHARIK. What is this? What do they want with me? (Zina grabs Sharik by the collar.)
ZINA. Got him!
SHARIK. (Shaking Zina loose.) Hey, let go of me you bitch!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Bormenthal, don't just stand there, help her.
ZINA. Darya, don't let him out! (They corner Sharik.)
BORMENTHAL. Don't excite him.
SHARIK. Three against one! It's not fair. I'll have to bite my way out.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Catch him you idiots! Time is of the essence!
BORMENTHAL. (Grabbing ether and cloth.) We'll charge on the count of three.
SHARIK. Just try it!
BORMENTHAL. One . . . two . . .
SHARIK. Go to hell.
(They lunge for the dog, who slips through their grasp and scurries down the hall. The music swells. Bormenthal draws a white curtain across the stage as in the background we hear the furious crashing of a struggle. He returns to assist the professor, as an acolyte a priest. Darya and Zina wheel in Sharik, strapped to a gurney, lost in the ether.)
SHARIK. Why is there a lake in the middle of the room? Why are these pink rowboats floating around filled with little dogs?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Undo latch.
SHARIK. (To Bormenthal.) I love you . . . I've always loved you. (He passes out.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Quick ... put him in position.
(Bormenthal lowers the gurney. A swell of music: choral and orchestral. The lights change and dance. Time passes in a dream. Surgical instruments flash and fly. Zina mops sweat from the professor's brow. The dog is draped in white. The operation is underway and the music soars.)
BORMENTHAL. He is shaved.
PREOBRAJENSKY. WeIl, God help us all. Knife.
BORMENTHAL. (Handing the knife.) Knife.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Is he asleep?
BORMENTHAL. He is.
(Preobrajensky begins an incision of the dog's belly. Bormenthal attends with gauze. Zina dabs sweat from the brows of both men.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. I make the incision. .. (Preobrajensky opens the belly and prepares to plunge into the dog's innards.) Torsion forceps!
BORMENTHAL. (Handing the forceps.) Torsion forceps.
BORMENTHAL. (Handing the scissors.) Scissors.
(Scissors flash in the light as they are passed. Preobrajensky plunges his hand deep into the dog's open belly. He twists, pulls, cuts, and withdraws the dog's seminal vesicles from the cavity. Shreds of tissue hang from them.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. I am removing the seminal vesicles. (Pulls the thing out.) I am calling for the nutrient liquid. (Bormenthal holds up the waiting jar for the organs and produces the container with the human equivalents. Preobrajensky thrusts them into the hole and begins the transplant.)
BORMENTHAL. (As vesicle goes in.) Fourteen minutes, Professor. … (A light change indicates the passing of time.) Thirty-five minutes. (Bormenthal proceeds to stitch up the dog's belly while PREOBRAJENSKY prepares for the major part of the operation.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Phase one complete. Remember, Dr. Bormenthal, the most critical moment is when I enter the Turkish saddle. The instant I'm inside you must hand me the pituitary. We must begin stitching at once. If bleeding begins we'll lose valuable time-- we may even lose the dog. Of course he has no real chance of survival anyway so I suppose it hardly matters. Oh well, what the hell. Trepan!
BORMENTHAL. (Handing the trepan drill.) Trepan. (Preobrajensky drills a hole in the dog's head.)
BORMENTHAL. (Handing the saw.) Saw. (Preobrajensky saws and removes the lid from the skull.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. We are at the cupola of the creature's brain. Scissors!
BORMENTHAL. (Handing scissors.) Scissors.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I cut into the menges … (Bormenthal hands the forceps then checks vital signs.)
BORMENTHAL. Pulse is weakening.
PREOBRAJENSKY. An injection of adrenalin. Quickly!
(Bormenthal breaks a glass ampule and draws liquid into a syringe.)
BORMENTHAL. Into his heart?
PREOBRAJENSKY. You are asking?! What difference does it make? You have let him die five times already! Inject it! Inject it! It's unbelievable! (Bormenthal injects the liquid into the dog and checks pulse again.)
BORMENTHAL. Pulse is stabilized.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Here we are ... just in here . . . I'm tearing away the veil. I'm holding the cerebral hemispheres ... I pull them out of the open cavity....
(Zina sees the brain and faints.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Never mind, I'm approaching the Turkish saddle. . . .
BORMENTHAL. He is alive, just barely. (Zina revives.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. We don't have time to discuss is he alive or not alive! He's going to die in any case ... uh, what the hell ... (To Zina.) Hold these. (Zina faints again and Preobrajensky gives the brain to
Bormenthal. Sings.) "Su del nilo sacra lido .... " It's now.... I have entered the Turkish saddle....GIVE ME THE PITUITARY GLAND, YOU IDIOT!!! (Bormenthal hands the brains back to Preobrajensky and goes to the suitcase for the gland. He returns and they exchange glands. Bormenthal drops the dog's pituitary into the nutrient liquid as Preobrajensky works on the transplant, stitching it in and stuffing the brain back into the skull. He steps back and wipes his brow with his bare arm.) He's dead.
BORMENTHAL. No, not quite. A thready pulse.
PREOBRAJENSKY. More adrenalin. And start to stitch. (Zina sits up on the floor.) Zina, a cigar for me right away, some fresh underwear and draw my bath. The devil take it! He didn't die. Well, he will eventually. Yes, Dr. Bormenthal, you know . . . I feel . . . I feel sorry for the poor mutt. He was sly, but he was affectionate. I think he actually had grown rather fond of me.
END OF ACT I
1929. A lecture hall in the Academy of Science. Dr. Bormenthal, seated at a table behind a microphone, clears his throat and speaks tentatively. Slides appear on a screen behind him.
BORMENTHAL. Members of the Academy, five years have passed since the extraordinary events which transpired in the clinic of Professor Philip Philipovich Preobrajensky. Though he has long since retired from his practice, my duty to science requires now that I make public the details of his most noted case. I will refrain from interpretation of the facts. I offer first my own daily documentation of the events. The journal of a laboratory dog, approximately two years old, male. Breed-- mongrel. Name-- Sharik. Condition normal. Traces of a burn on the left side.
December 23, 1924: The first operation of its kind is performed under the direction of Professor Preobrajensky. The dog's testes are removed and replaced by human male testes with epididymus and seminal cords which were obtained from a man who died three hours and four minutes before the surgery. Immediately following, the dog's pituitary gland, or hypophysis, was removed after performing a trepanation of the skull. It was replaced by a human gland taken from the same man.
Purpose of the operation: to combine the transplantation of hypophysis and testes in order to determine the viability of such a transplant and, eventually, determine its effect on the rejuvenation of human organism.
Immediately following the surgery: repeated and dangerous lowering of pulse rate. Death expected. Two syringes of adrenalin introduced into the heart.
December 24, morning: Situation worse. Pulse very weak. Respiration rate doubles. Subcutaneous injections of camphor and caffeine.
December 25, morning: Slight improvement. Pulse 180, breathing 92.
December 28: Considerable improvement. At noon, sudden profound sweating. Surgical wounds stable. Some appetite appears.
December 29: Observation of sudden loss of hair on forehead and sides of body. Veterinary skin specialist called in. Case unknown in literature.
8:15P.M.: First bark. Sharp change of timbre and lowering of tone.
December 30: Weighing-in produced unexpected results: weight thirty kilograms, accounted for by apparent lengthening of bones. Dog is still in bed.
January 1, 1925: Continues happily barking the word "scarf" in a deep voice. At 3 P.M., the dog laughs, causing the housekeeper Zina to faint.
January 2: The dog gets out of bed and remains confidently standing on hind legs for about half an hour. He is almost my height.
January 6, 9:30 A.M.: The creature's tail falls off. 1 :37 P.M., in the presence of myself and Zina, the dog, if one may call him that, pronounces very clearly the word "saloon."
January 7: His appearance is very strange. He has fur only on his head, chin and chest. Otherwise he is bald and somewhat wrinkled. As far as his sexual organs are concerned, they are those of a maturing man. He now pronounces many words: "driver," "no seats available," and all the curse words that exist in the Russian language.
Philip Philipovich is not feeling well. Rumors are flying. The Moscow Evening News has reported the birth of a baby playing the violin. The situation here is indescribable. The telephone never stops ringing, childless women are going berserk and are coming in droves. Because the creature requires constant vigilance, I've taken up temporary residence in the professor's apartment.
January 8: A diagnosis is established late this evening. Philip Philipovich, a true scholar and scientist, admits his miscalculation. He concludes that a hypophysis transplant does not produce rejuvenation, it produces complete humanization. This of course does not diminish the professor's astounding discovery.
January 9: The "creature" took his first walk through the apartment. He laughed at the electric lamp in the corridor and immediately made for the professor's liquor cabinet. Later that evening I spoke with Philip Philipovich. I must say it was the first time I had ever seen this extraordinary and self-assured man at a loss. Pulling me aside, he muttered, "I beg you, Ivan Arnoldovich, buy him some underwear, trousers and a suit coat."
January 10: He refuses the underpants shouting "Get on line, you sons of bitches, get on linel" He will need repeated systematic toilet training. The servants are utterly disgusted.
January 11: He is finally reconciled to wearing trousers. He spoke a long amusing phrase: "Give me a smoke, or I'll give you a poke." When the professor told him not to throw scraps of food on the floor the dog quite unexpectedly said: "Get lost, you pompous ass."
January 12: Philip Philipovich is acting very strange. The creature's increasing aberrant behavior leads the professor to begin investigating the background of the transplant donor. Klim Grigorievich Chugunkin, twenty-eight years old, unmarried. Arrested three times for theft, last time sentenced to fifteen years' hard labor, released on probation. Profession: balalaika player. Condition: liver enlarged from alcohol. Cause of death: saloon brawl. Stabbed in the heart. The old man keeps pouring over Klim's history. (The last slide is a photo of Professor Preobrajensky at his desk, bent over volumes of work.) He blames me for not being more selective in choosing a corpse.
PREOBRAJENSKY'S VOICE. How could you fail to examine Chugunkin's entire body in the pathology laboratory? I shall go mad! (Singing.) "Su del nilo . . ." (A balalaika joins in from the distance.)
BORMENTHAL. He keeps going over and over that irritating tune from Aida.
(The slide screen has dissolved. It is January 1925. Preobrajensky is seated at his desk in the office. Bormenthal turns and faces him. The balalaika grows louder.)
I simply don't understand it. It wasn't my fault. And anyway, what difference whose hypophysis?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Can't you see what difference, you idiot?? Forgive me, Ivan Arnoldovich. That balalaika is driving me crazy. WILL YOU STOP THAT??!! I have told him repeatedly there is no balalaika-playing after five O'clock. Send him in here, will you?
BORMENTHAL. Of course.
(Bormenthal leaves the room. Preobrajensky tears his hair. The balalaika stops in mid-phrase. There is a crash and shouting. A dark shadow appears behind the frosted glass door before it swings open. There stands the transformed Sharik. With a sour expression, he leans against the door frame and crosses one foot over the other. His hair is coarse and thick. His face is covered with stubble. In his hand he holds a brown cigar stub. Bits of straw cling to his coat. His striped trousers are torn and spotted with paint. Around his neck he wears a "poisonously blue" tie with a garish tie pin. He wears black patent shoes and white spats.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. It seems to me that I've told you twice already not to sleep behind the stove in the kitchen.
SHARIK. The air is better in the kitchen.
PREOBRAJENSKY. There will be no more sleeping behind the stove. Do you understand? You will remain here. Stay out of the servants' quarters. There are women sleeping in there.
SHARIK. Some women . . . just ordinary servants, not ladies. But of course they put on airs as if they were commissars' wives. This must be Zinka's doing. She's squealed on me.
PREOBRAJENSKY. You are not to call Zina Zinka, is that dear? (Sharik is silent.) Is that clear?
SHARIK. Clear enough.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And where did you get that garbage? I'm talking about your tie.
SHARIK. What do you mean garbage? It's a very fashionable tie. A gift from little Darya Petrovna.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Darya Petrovna made you a gift of a piece of trash, like those ridiculous shoes of yours. Who ever heard of such flashy tasteless nonsense? Where in the world did you get them?
What did I tell you? I said buy a pair of sturdy shoes. And what the hell do you come back with? Dr. Bormenthal could not have picked out such an abomination.
SHARIK. I told him I wanted patent leather. What am I supposed to be . . . not as good as anyone else? Go, take a walk on Kuznetsky Bridge . . . everyone is wearing patent leather shoes.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Now, remove that thing from your neck. You ....just look at yourself in the mirror, see what you look like. Like you belong to a circus. And there is no throwing of cigar butts on the floor, and no spitting. I've told you this a hundred times. Everyone in this house and all of my patients beg you to be careful when you use the toilet. Look where you're going. And please stop having conversations with Zina. She complains that you sit in wait for her in dark places. And watch your mouth. Who was it that answered a patient with "the son of a bitch might know"? Where do you think you are . . . some sleazy dive?
SHARIK. Really, I think you're too hard on me, Dad.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dad!?! Who is it that you're calling "Dad"? What kind of familiarity is this now? I won't put up with a word of this any longer! You will address me by my name and patronymic.
SHARIK. Why are you always nagging me? Don't spit. Don't smoke. Don't do this. Don't sit there ... just like in a streetcar. You won't even let me breathe. And as for "Dad," why not? Did I ask you for the operation? Where do you get off? Yanking some poor animal in off the street. Don't animals have rights? Who gave you permission to catch a poor dumb animal and slash up his head? Not me! I didn't give no permission, that's for sure. I might say the same for my relatives, and a few of the rabbits and monkeys you've got pickled in the other room. Who knows, maybe now I have the right to take you to court. And what if I had died under your knife? In my opinion, this is a clear case of malpractice.
PREOBRAJENSKY. So, in other words, you are complaining because you have been transformed into a man. Perhaps you would prefer to be ferreting around in garbage cans right now? Or freezing out in the street? In that case . . .
Why are you constantly throwing it up at me? . . . Garbage, garbage . .
. that's all you think about. Let me tell you something. I earned my
scraps of bread in those days. What would you say to that, comrade?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Philip Philipovich! I am not your comrade! This is monstrous. A nightmare. Really, a total nightmare. Comrade indeed.
SHARIK. Absolutely. I agree completely. How could we ever be comrades? What are we? We didn't get no degree from the university . . . we've never lived in no fifteen room apartment with four bathrooms. But it's time to forget all of that now, isn't it? All that is changed. Each person has his own right. (He suddenly thrusts his nose under his arm and clicks his teeth.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Please use your fingers to catch fleas! Your fingers! I don't understand where you get them from.
SHARIK. What do you think? That I breed them? It looks like fleas like me, that's all.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Well, take your fleas for a walk. I have work to do.
SHARIK. I need to ask you something.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Now what?
PREOBRAJENSKY. What the hell? A document? Are you absurd? You're . . .
SHARIK. Come on now . . . have a heart. I have to have a document, you know that. A man is not permitted to exist without a document. First of all... the House Committee ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. WHAT!! What has the House Committee to do with anything?
SHARIK. What do you mean "What?" One meets people. One runs into people. People care. They ask questions. Like, when are you going to register?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh, my God. "One runs into people. They care." This is grotesque. I can just imagine what you're telling them. I forbid you to hang around on the back stairs.
SHARIK. What am I? A prisoner? What do you mean "hang around"? That's insulting. I don't hang around, I walk like everybody else.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Never mind. The words are not important right now. What does your charming House Committee say?
SHARIK. What is it supposed to say? ... And you don't have to call it names . . . "charming" . . . the committee protects the interests.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Whose interests, may I ask?
SHARIK. Who do you think? The interests of the working class!!
PREOBRAJENSKY. And since when are you a worker?
SHARIK. Well, you wouldn't exactly call me bourgeois, would you?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Well, fine. So, what does the committee need in order to protect your working-class, proletarian, revolutionary interests?
SHARIK. It needs to have me registered. The committee says it's simply unheard of for a man to be living in Moscow without being registered. I'm no vagrant, I need a registration card. And then I have to join the union and the labor exchange.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Can you tell me please what I can possibly use to register you? What papers do you think I should give them? My passport? The tablecloth? Don't you think the . . . uh, situation has to be considered? I mean, you . . . are . . . uh, a product of the laboratory . . . an unexpectedly evolved creature, so to speak .... I mean, how could we register you . . . you have no name.
SHARIK. You're wrong there. I can very easily select my own name. I'll have it printed in the newspaper and that will be that.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And what would you like to be called?
SHARIK. Polygraph Polygraphovich. (Preobrajensky tries to pour himself a glass of water. He drops the glass.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Excuse me. My nerves are shot. Your name, for some reason seemed very strange. I'd be interested to know where you got it from.
SHARIK. The House Committee helped me. We looked through one of your books. They asked me which name I liked and I picked that one.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And can you tell me your last name?
SHARIK. Well, I'd just as soon the last name be hereditary. That's all right with me.
PREOBRAJENSKY. What do you mean "hereditary"? Precisely what would that be?
SHARIK. Oh, Sharikov.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Polygraph Polygraphovich Sharikov.
(Dr. Bormenthal opens the frosted glass door and steps into the office.)
(Fotopopov appears at the open door behind Bormenthal.)
FOTOPOPOV. Good afternoon, Comrade Polygraph PoIygraphovich. Good afternoon, Comrade Philip Philipovich.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I am NOT YOUR COMRADE, Mr. Fotopopov! What are you doing in my office?
FOTOPOPOV. There's nothing complicated about it. I'm sure Comrade Polygraph Polygraphovich has explained to you that we need a document. You can simply write out a certificate, Citizen Professor. just write something like: ". . . The owner of this document is certified by me to be Comrade Sharikov." Say he was born in your apartment on such and such a date, and . . .
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh, my God. This is complete lunacy! He wasn't born, he was rather . . . uh, in other words . . .
FOTOPOPOV. Well, never mind that. It's your business whether he was born or what he was. So long as the certificate bears your signature. You are the creator of Citizen Sharikov.
SHARIK/SHARIKOV. Yes, it's all very simple.
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Turning on Sharikov.) I would appreciate it if you did not interfere in our conversation. And you shouldn't say it's "very simple." It isn't simple at all.
SHARIKOV. I shouldn't interfere! I shouldn't interfere in my own business!
FOTOPOPOV. Excuse me, Professor, but Comrade Sharikov is quite correct. It is his right to participate in a discussion of his own fate.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh ... very well. (Writing.) "This is to certify... the bearer of this document is a man ...
who is the result of . . . a laboratory experiment consisting of an operation performed on his brains . . . and now he is in need of a document." (Signing his name.) This is just idiotic. These documents are idiotic.
FOTOPOPOV. It is strange indeed, Professor, that you should consider documents to be idiotic. How could I allow someone to live in this building without documents? I have a responsibility to our Soviet government. Here is an able bodied individual who has not yet been registered for the draft. What if a war should break out with the American imperialist sharks?
SHARIKOV. I'm not fighting in no war.
FOTOPOPOV. Citizen Sharikov! We are shocked. Have you no social consciousness? You must register for the military draft.
SHARIKOV. I'll register, but when it comes to fighting they can kiss my proletarian ass. . . .
SHARIKOV. Listen, I was badly wounded during the operation. Just look what they did to my head.
FOTOPOPOV. Comrade Sharikov, you sound like an anarchist individualist.
SHARIKOV. I'm a veteran of the operating table.
FOTOPOPOV. Well, nevertheless. We will send the professor's certificate here to the militia and you will be given a document.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Look here ... something just occurs to me. (To Fotopopov.) You wouldn't have a vacant room somewhere in the house by any chance? If so I'd like to rent it.
FOTOPOPOV. (Smiling, on his way out.) Very sorry, Professor. I'm afraid there is nothing available.
SHARIKOV. And who is this room supposed to be for?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh, shut up!
FOTOPOPOV. And I can assure you there won't be in the future either.
SHARIKOV. Never mind, comrade. I have no intention of leaving home. Why the one person I'm closest to in the whole world is me dear old Dad.
FOTOPOPOV. Good afternoon, (To Sharikov and Bormenthal.) comrades.
The dining room. Bormenthal and Preobrajensky face each other at opposite ends of the table. Sharikov is in the middle. Zina and Darya serve.
BORMENTHAL. No, no, no. With your fork! Use your fork.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Thank you, doctor. I'm tired of telling him.
BORMENTHAL. And use your napkin. Tuck your napkin in before you start to eat.
SHARIKOV. Jesus Christ. How is a person supposed to eat?
BORMENTHAL. Zina, take his plate away. I will not let you eat until you tuck in your napkin.
SHARIKOV. I'm tucking it in. I'm tucking it in.
PREOBRAJENSKY. The fork!!
SHARIKOV. Yes, yes. Give me another shot of vodochka.
BORMENTHAL. Don't you think you've had enough? Lately you've been drinking a bit too much vodka.
SHARIKOV. You begrudge me my little vodochka?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Don't be ridiculous ... if you ...
BORMENTHAL. Don't worry, Philip Philipovich, I'll handle this. You talk nonsense, Sharikov. I don't begrudge you your "little vodochka," besides it isn't mine to begrudge . . . it belongs to Philip Philipovich. The simple truth is that vodka isn't good for you . . . you behave indecently even without vodka.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Zinusha, may I have some more fish, please? (Sharikov grabs the vodka bottle and pours himself a shot.)
BORMENTHAL. At least offer it to others before taking yours. First to the professor, then to me, then to yourself.
SHARIKOV. Rules, rules, rules! You people act like you're on parade all the time. Napkins here, forks here. Excuse me. Pass the fish. Don't lick your plate. My God, you torture yourselves just like when the Tsar was alive. (Zina brings in a turkey. Bormenthal pours some red wine for PREOBRAJENSKY and then offers some to Sharikov.) None for me. I'll stick to my vodochka.
SHARIKOV. Let's go to the circus. That'll be the best thing.
(He pinches Zina.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Every night it's the circus. I think the circus is rather a bore. If I were you I'd consider going to the theatre once in a while.
SHARIKOV. That is out of the question. I wouldn't be caught dead going to the theatre. (Suddenly Zina gasps, covers her face with her apron and runs out of the room.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Really, this is too much.
SHARIKOV. Now, what?
BORMENTHAL. How dare you?
SHARIKOV. What? just because ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. It is possible to hold it in, you know.
BORMENTHAL. One simply does not break wind at the table. It ruins the appetite.
SHARIKOV. It's only natural. I suppose from the potatoes.
BORMENTHAL. Let us change the subject.
PREOBRAJENSKY. What exactly don't you like about the theatre?
SHARIKOV. It's embarrassing. Grown people clowning around. Plus it's nothing but talk, talk, talk. If you ask me, it's counterrevolutionary.
SHARIKOV. I read. So what? I read and read and read.
(Preobrajensky rings bell and Zina reenters.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Zina, dear, will you put the vodka away please?
BORMENTHAL. We won't be needing it any longer.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And what, pray tell, do you read?
SHARIKOV. Oh ... what the hell's the name of that thing? . . . uh, the correspondence of Engels with, uh, what d'ya call him ... Kautsky! That's it.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And tell me, what do you think of this book?
SHARIKOV. I don't agree.
PREOBRAJENSKY. With whom? With Engels or with Kautsky?
SHARIKOV. I don't agree with both of them.
PREOBRAJENSKY. By God that's something. You don't agree. And what proposals do you suggest? What are your ideas, since you don't agree with Kautsky and Engels?
SHARIKOV. Well, how can I agree? Blah blah blah blah, that's all they do . . . about the government, about the Germans. . . . It makes my head spin. They should just take everything and divide it up.
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Slamming his fist down on the table.) I thought so! I knew it! This is too much!!
BORMENTHAL. So you figured out how to solve the country's problems. Sure, just divide everything up evenly.
SHARIKOV. Well, why not? I mean it's obvious isn't it? One person lives in seven rooms and has forty pairs of pants, and another one lives in the gutter and gets his dinner out of trash cans.
PREOBRAJENSKY. About the seven rooms. You are referring to me I suppose? (Sharikov simply shrugs his shoulders.) I'm not against sharing things as long as people act like civilized human beings instead of crazed animals. You remember perhaps, Comrade Sharikov, that you bit a lady on the stairs two days ago.
SHARIKOV. So? She slapped me in the face. It's my face, not the government's.
BLUMENTHAL Because you pinched her breasts and grabbed her… Forgive me, Phillip Phillipovich….
PREOBRAJENSKY. It is clear that you remain on the lowest rung of human development. You're not yet a completely formed human being. You don't think and you act like an animal. But in spite of that you speak with incredible arrogance, giving advice on a cosmic scale in the presence of two learned men with university degrees. And all of this less than two hours after devouring an entire boxful of tooth powder.
BORMENTHAL. And less than five minutes after befouling the air at the dinner table with a rip-roaring blister of gas.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Exactly. So from now on just keep your nose out of things you don't understand. You must keep your trap shut and do what you are told. Try to learn and become a more or less acceptable member of Socialist society. And, by the way, what scoundrel provided you with that book?
SHARIKOV. From your point of view everyone is a scoundrel.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I can guess.
HARIKOV. So big deal. So Comrade Fotopopov gave it to me. So what? He's not a scoundrel. He wants to educate me.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Educate you into another lunatic like Kautsky. This is the absolute limit. (Ringing the bell.) Zina!
SHARIKOV. Zinka! (Zina runs in.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Zina, out in the waiting room.... (To Sharikov.) Is it in the waiting room?
SHARIKOV. Yes, and it's green.
PREOBRAJENSKY. There's a green book. It's called The Correspondence Between Engels and . .. uh, what the hell is his name? . . . Kautsky. . . . Throw it into the stove. If I could I'd hang this Fotopopov on the first dry branch. (Zina runs out to burn the book.)
SHARIKOV. It's a library book. It belongs to the government.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Doctor, would you be so good as to take this creature to the circus where he belongs? But before you do, for heaven's sake look in the program and make sure they don't have any cats, he nearly murdered the one my patient Mrs. Yaniznayoo brought in the other day.
SHARIKOV. Cats! Really, they're nothing but trash. How is it that they let such trash into the circus?
PREOBRAJENSKY. They let anything into the circus. Doctor, do you know what's playing?
BORMENTHAL. At Solomonsky's Circus they have four . . . (He is reading from the newspaper.) yussems? Whatever they are, and a tightrope walker.
PREOBRAJENSKY. What sort of creature is a yussem?
SHARIKOV. Probably some sort of trash.
BORMENTHAL. I have no idea. I've never seen the word before.
PREOBRA JENSKY. Better not take any chances. He could go completely berserk. What's at Nikitin's?
BORMENTHAL. At Nikitin's ... at Nikitin's ... hm ... "elephants and the Bouncing Bambinis."
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Stands.) Well, that sounds safe enough.
BORMENTHAL. So, what do you say to elephants and Bambinis?
SHARIKOV. I resent the question. What do you think, I was born yesterday? An elephant is a useful creature ....
PREOBRAJENSKY. Fine, if elephants are useful then go ahead and take a look at them.
BORMENTHAL. Shall we go, Comrade Sharikov? (Bormenthal and Sharikov start out, but Sharikov returns.)
SHARIKOV. But a cat ... a cat is something else ... a cat is scum, that's all there is to it.
(Exits. A melody from Aida drifts in. Preobrajensky plays with his wineglass as the melody is overtaken by distant but increasingly louder choral music. Annoyed, he gets up and wanders slowly into the lab. From one of the high glass shelves he withdraws a glass jar in which floats the hypophysis of a Moscow mutt. The music swells.)
The lab. Dr. Bormenthal is working at the professor's desk. Preobrajensky is humming absently and looking out the window. Sharikov walks in.
PREOBRAJENSKY. What the hell are you made up for?
SHARIKOV. Philip Philipovich, I have found myself a job.
BORMENTHAL. A job? What sort of job? (Sharikov produces a small document as Preobrajensky turns around.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Let me see the paper. (He grabs the document out of Sharikov' s hand and reads.) "This will certify that the person bearing this document, namely one Comrade Polygraph Polygraphovich Sharikov is the director of the Moscow Communal Property Administration subsection for purging the city of stray cats." (Looking up.) I see. And who was it arranged this? Never mind, I can guess.
SHARIKOV. Comrade Fotopopov.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Allow me to ask ... what is that disgusting smell you are spreading?
SHARIKOV. Well, naturally it smells. It's our job. We must have choked a dozen cats today .... It's messy, true, but somebody has to do it.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And what do you do with these stray cats you choke to death?
SHARIKOV. They're sold for coats. They make them into squirrel pelts somewhere and sell them to the workers on credit. (Bormenthal moves to the new subsection director [Sharikov] and grabs him by the neck.) Help! Help!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Doctor, no!
VASNETSOVA. Polygraph, people are starting to come in. What shall I tell them? (To Bormenthal and Preobrajensky.) Say, do you fellows have an appointment?
SHARIKOV. It's all right, honey; they live here too.
PREOBRAJENSKY. And who may I ask is this?
SHARIKOV. This is my secretary.
SHARIKOV. Sure. I have mountains of paperwork.
VASNETSOVA. Polygraph, this apartment is huge. It's like a palace.
SHARIKOV. Yeah, roomy isn't it? All it needs is a few partitions.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Excuse me, you're not seriously suggesting that this woman is moving in with you?
SHARIKOV. Don't worry, Dad. Comrade Fotopopov has it all arranged. We'll be compressed into the waiting room. Of course, Bormenthal will have to go back to his own place.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Miss, could I have a word with you in the next room? (Preobrajensky leads Vasnetsova off.)
SHARIKOV. I'll come too.
BORMENTHAL. (Grabs Sharikov by the collar, tosses him to chair.) You wait right here. Sit!
SHARIKOV. Hey, make it snappyl Everyone of those disgusting tomcats has to be accounted for. And a report filed in the Department of Animal Information.
BORMENTHAL. I'm sure.
SHARIKOV. I tell you, Bormenthal, that girl is a first-rate little typist. (A scream from Vasnetsova interrupts. She rushes back in, followed by Preobrajensky.)
VASNETSOVA. You animal!
SHARIKOV. But baby ... ?
VASNETSOVA. Why do you have a scar on your forehead?
SHARIKOV. I was wounded fighting in Kolchak.
VASNETSOVA. You Iiar! (Punches Sharikov.) You coward!
BORMENTHAL. Miss ...
PREOBRAJENSKY. Young lady ..
VASNETSOV A. Liar! Filthy crook!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Please, Miss.
VASNETSOVA. A dog? My God. I'll poison myself. I didn't know. He said he was a Red Commander. He picked me up in front of the butcher shop and forced me to take a typing test. I even gave him my amethyst ring as a memento.
PREOBRAJENSKY. There, there, you're still young and ...
VASNETSOVA. (Dazed.) A dog ... what will my mother say?
PREOBRAJENSKY. (To Sharikov.) The ring please. (Sharikov removes the ring from his little finger and hands it over to PREOBRAJENSKY. )
SHARIKOV. I won't forget this. There'll be a reduction in personnel in the subsection tomorrow ... .
VASNETSOVA. Now, I'm out of a job.... (She weeps.)
BORMENTHAL. Don't worry, Miss. I won't let him do anything. What is your name? (Turning to Sharikov.) Her name?! Name!
BORMENTHAL. I shall make personal inquiries to the purge office very day to make certain that Citizen Vasnetsova has not been fired. And if I find out she has been, I will . . . I will shoot you on the spot with my bare hands. Beware, Sharikov ... I'm warning you in plain Russian.
SHARIKOV. I can find a revolver or two myself you know.
(He storms out.)
VASNETSOVA. He even promised me a squirrel coat.
SHARIKOV. (Off.) Filthy trash! (The door is flung open and a large tomcat flies through the air.)
ZINA. (Rushing on stage.) Mrs. Yaniznayoo's cat! Quick. He's gone beserk!
SHARIKOV. (Off.) I'll get you, trash! (Suddenly all is motion, flight and breaking glass. Sharikov streaks by. Bormenthal, Preobrajensky, Zina and Vasnetsova are all swept up in the chase.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dr. Bormenthal, for God's sake, go calm down the patients in the waiting room.
SHARIKOV. BOW WOWI
VOICE OF MRS. Y ANIZNAYOO. I'll sue! Let go of my little "Wiffy"!
ZINA. They're headed for the surgery.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I'll head them off in the dining room.
SHARIKOV. Come on out and fight like a dog.
BORMENTHAL. Mrs. Yaniznayoo's fainted.
ZINA. Do something!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Bring the smelling salts.
SHARIKOV. Here puss, puss, puss.
BORMENTHAL. The kitchen!
ZINA. The bedroom!
PREOBRAJENSKY. The office!
FYODOR. (Rushing in.) The hallway!
ALL. THE TOILET!
(The cat and Sharikov are heard struggling inside the bathroom. Their wildly moving shadows, as well as screams, barks, the gush of running water, dropping bottles and breaking glass, make it clear that the brawl is monstrous. Breathless, Preobrajensky, Bormenmal, Zina, Vasnetsova and an old crone, wrapped in a babushka arrive at the bathroom door.)
ZINA. He's locked the door.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Open up!
BORMENTHAL. I'll kill you on the spot.
ZINA. Heavenly Father.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Who is this now?
OLD CRONE. Can I have a little peek at the talking dog?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Out! Get this woman out of here this minute!
BORMENTHAL. Please, madam.
ZINA. Oh, Lord. Turn off the water.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Come out here! Why have you locked the door?
SHARIKOV. (Off.) Boo-hoo!
PREOBRAJENSKY. What the hell, turn off the water. I can't hear you.
SHARIKOV. (Off.) Bow! Wow!
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Bangs on the door.) Shut off the water! What is he doing? I can't understand. (The transom opens and Sharikov's head appears above the glass door.)
ZINA. There he is!
SHARIKOV. Tried to catch the bastard by the legs and the faucet came off.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Have you gone crazy?! Come out of there.
SHARIKOV. I'm locked in.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Just turn the lock. Haven't you ever seen a lock before?
SHARIKOV. The damned thing won't turn.
ZINA. He's locked the safety catch.
PREOBRAJENSKY. There's a little button there.
BORMENTHAL. Press it down!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Press down!
SHARIKOV. I can't see a thing. It's under water!
BORMENTHAL. He's gone mad!
SHARIKOV. Help me, I'm drowning!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Oh my God. (Fyodor lumbers in dragging wrench.)
ZINA. Get out of the way. It's Fyodor. (Fyodor raises the wrench.)
BORMENTHAL. Fyodor ... wait, there'll be a flood . . . the door . . .
PREOBRAJENSKY. Look out! (The women scream. The wrench swings back.)
BORMENTHAL. My God, no! (The light goes out. Sounds of a thousand windows breaking at once and a tidal wave engulfing a city. )
The examination room. No one is around. The door opens and Darya steps in, holding the door for a patient. The man with green hair follows her in.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Do you know the last time I felt like this about anyone? It was 1899 in Bologna, late August. . . . The place was deserted . . . everyone was at the races . . . just a few pigeons . . . suddenly . . .
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Steps into the room.) Overdoing it again? Our appointment was for next week. Is this an emergency?
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. No, no ... things are still splendid with me but it is an emergency. I'm here about another matter, Philip Philipovich. . . . My regard for you . . . and gratitude . . . hmm . . . I thought I must warn you. The accusation is ridiculous of course but ... well, he's obviously a scoundrel. Fortunately, the report came directly to me. (The man with green hair gives Preobrajensky a document. Dr. Bormenthal enters while Preobrajensky reads the letter.) Good morning, doctor.
BORMENTHAL. (To man.) Mr. Medbedrovich
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Reading.) "The professor makes counterrevolutionary speeches and ordered his social servant Zinaida Prokofievna Bunina to throw Engels into the stove. He is also in cahoots with one Ivan Arnoldovich Bormenthal who now secretly lives in the apartment without registration.”
BORMENTHAL. Oh my God.
PREOBRAJENSKY. "He has further threatened to murder the chairman of the House Committee-- which proves he possesses firearms. Signed, director of the purge subsection, P. P. Sharikov-- attested to by the chairman of the House Committee, V. V. Fotopopov." May I keep this?
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. Of course. Naturally it will never reach the higher authorities.
PREOBRAJENSKY. If there's ever anything I could do for you, please don't hesitate to ask.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. There is, perhaps, one thing: I wonder, could I perhaps have a peek at him? All Moscow is buzzing with all sorts of rumors about him.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Tell our dear Polygraph Polygraphovich to come here at once. (Darya nods and leaves.)
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. She's a tasty-looking thing, Isn't she? I'm reminded of a creature I met in Algiers ... never spoke. We were down by the docks, very clumsy of course ... but ... what the hell.... (Sharikov strolls in.)
SHARIKOV. You rang, Dad?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Get your things and get out.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I want you out of this apartment today. Now!
SHARIKOV. You can't throw me out of here. I have a document....
PREOBRAJENSKY. It's worthless.
SHARIKOV. What is this?!
PREOBRAJENSKY. Get out.
SHARIKOV. I am registered here.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Doctor Bormenthal
SHARIKOV. I am assigned these quarters by the committee!
BORMENTHAL. Let's go, Comrade Sharikov....
SHARIKOV. This is the Soviet way!
PREOBRAJENSKY. That is not my way. Now, GET OUT OF THIS APARTMENT!! (Sharikov makes an obscene gesture and pulls a revolver from his pocket. Bormenthal, Preobrajensky and the man with green hair huddle together at gunpoint.) Where did you get that?
SHARIKOV. Never mind where I got it. I'm a citizen-- a respected member of the community, a loyal proletarian . . . maybe even more. They tell me I have a real future in the party.
BORMENTHAL. Put that thing away.
PREOBRAJENSKY. A real future in the party indeed. Chasing cats!
SHARIKOV. Cats are trash but so are enemies of the Proletariat . . . maybe both need purging.
(The door opens and Darya enters. Sharikov turns and Bormenthal leaps on him. There is a tremendous struggle. Preobrajensky gets the bottle and rag to render the subdued Sharikov unconscious, then picks up the gun.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. (To Darya.) Tell Zina to send the patients home. There will be no visiting hours today. Doctor Bormenthal, show Mr. Medbedrovich out. Lock all the doors.
MAN WITH GREEN HAIR. You are a genius, Professor. A true genius.
Middle of the night. Loud pounding. Searchlights scan the frosted glass doors. Shadows appear.
VOICES. (Off.) Open up! Criminal police! Investigating Officer Astrovsky. Open up! (The light flashes on. From various corners come Bormenthal, Preobrajensky and Zina in nightclothes. Bormenthal opens the door. Fotopopov and Astrovsky enter.)
FOTOPOPOV. We beg your pardon.... We have a warrant to search your apartment and, depending on the results, to make an arrest. This is Inspector Astrovsky. (Astrovsky starts to speak but is interrupted.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Arrest whom, may I ask, and on what charge?
ASTROVSKY. (Gloating.) Comrades Preobrajensky, Bormenthal, Zinaida Bunina and Darya Petrovna, on the charge of murdering the director of the purge section of the Moscow Communal Property Administration, Polygraph Polygraphovich Sharikov. (Zina sobs.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. I don't understand? Sharikov? Ah, excuse me . . . you mean my dog? . . . on whom I operated?
FOTOPOPOV. Excuse me, Inspector, not the dog, but after, when he was a man. This is the point.
PREOBRAJENSKY. You mean because he spoke? But this does not mean being a man. Anyway, that doesn't matter. Sharik is still alive. Nobody's killed him.
ASTROVSKY. In that case, Professor, you will have to produce him. He's been missing ten days and the implications, in view of the situation, are quite serious.
PREOBRAJENSKY. Dr. Bormenthal, would you be kind enough to present Sharik to the investigating officer? (Bormenthal whistles. A dog [Sharik] jumps out from nowhere. Astrovsky crosses himself.)
FOTOPOPOV. But this is ... I mean ... he worked at the purge section.
PREOBRAJENSKY. I didn't get him the job.
FOTOPOPOV. He's grown his fur back! (Sharik growls and barks. Fotopopov jumps.)
PREOBRAJENSKY. Down boy ... .
FOTOPOPOV. But he spoke, he .. .
PREOBRAJENSKY. (Shrugging.) Science has not yet discovered a method of transforming animals into humans. I tried, but I failed, as you can see. He spoke for a while, true, but then he began to revert to his original state. Atavism.
SHARIK. No indecent language! Please! (Astrovsky faints.)
Preobrajensky holds up a jar of colored liquid. Bormenthal observes the floating gland within the jar while Sharik looks up from below.
SHARIK. Boy, am I lucky! I'm set for life in this apartment. But I'm positive there must have been something shady in my ancestry. There must have been a Newfoundland in there somewhere. My granny, may she rest in peace, was a real whore. True, they've slashed up my whole head for some strange reason, but it's not worth mentioning anyway . . . it'll heal.
BORMENTHAL. Truly unique .
PREOBRAJENSKY. Almost unbelievable ....
BORMENTHAL. And what conclusion do you draw from this, Professor?
PREOBRAJENSKY. Well ... the thymus gland of the Mongolian yussem is not developed from the epithelium as it is in lambs or calves. . . .
BORMENTHAL. Professor! Are you suggesting that a transplantation of the thymus of a yussem might in fact prolong life?!
PREOBRAJENSKY. It's possible.
END OF PLAY